Edition 2021

The unfinished Arab revolts: Power, Politics and Governance in the Middle East

JULY 5 - 9, 2021

Between 2019 and 2020 a new wave of protests erupted across the Middle East and North Africa: in Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria, Sudan, Egypt and Jordan protests were largely triggered by dire socio-economic conditions, corruption and a sentiment of political disenfranchisement. People asked for regime change as well as radical changes in governance and public policies. Demands for transparency and accountability standards within established legal frameworks have been particularly strong. Political parties and the ruling elites met these demands only with trite political narratives and technocratic choices and not with genuine changes, facilitating and reinforcing in fact greater corruption and inequality. As a result, an increasing number of citizens demand greater access to information to the decision-making process, to policy implementation and, more broadly, to have more direct control over procedures.

Although demands for bread and dignity remain one of the protesters’ central claims, this new wave of revolts increasingly questions the ‘rules of the game’. Governance's procedures, economic policies and strategies, the narrowness of political power are all strongly questioned. This resonates with the idea that people are increasingly aware of the fact that a profound revolutionary change of the system is necessary to build a real democracy, not just a procedural one. In this sense other forms of governmentality emerge.

The 8th edition of the summer school “Understanding the Middle East” critically unpacks power, politics and governance, exploring the role they have in re-defining the trajectories of Arab states. In short, the objective of the summer school is to offer useful tools of analysis to better understand the complexity of the Middle East and, at the same time, to put forth thoughtful explanations rather than oversimplifications.

NOTE on Coronavirus/Covid-19:

The approach followed by the TOMidEast organising committee is to prioritise and guarantee the safety of all participants and Faculty members. In recognition of the global health situation and persistent health concerns in Italy, the Organising Committee has decided that the 2021 edition of the TOMidEast Summer School will be delivered entirely online on the CISCO Webex platform. The School will be held from the 5th to the 9th of July.

All accepted candidates will be contacted by e-mail regarding the teaching methods which will be used and will be informed on how to participate in the School. Thank you for your understanding.